Longer. Lower. Wider. That was the mantra of the American automotive industry in the latter half of the 1950’s. Of course, for most of us human-being people, only the wider and lower part apply when we reach our 50’s. But I digress. Back in those days advertising agencies would often employ animation to make their client’s automobiles seem more spiffy and desirable. Did it work? You bet your life it did! At least sometimes. Let’s take a look at a few spots that put the “car” into “cartoons”…
Buy a Dodge and be the envy of all the other traffic signals!
’55 Packard Clipper
Animated spot promoting Packard’s new torsion-bar suspension. When this commercial was made, they had recently merged with Studebaker. The once proud Packard nameplate died an inglorious death halfway into the 1958 season.
The American Motors Corporation was formed with the merger of Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson in 1954. Not long afterwards, they became a major sponsor of the Disneyland TV show, and soon Mickey, Br’er Rabbit, and Jiminy Cricket became Nash enthusiasts. Our good pal, the very wonderful and talented Mr. Floyd Norman had this to say about these spots:
They were produced at the Walt Disney Studios commercial unit run by Phyllis and George Hurrell. Hurrell was the famous MGM photographer who photographed all the Golden Age movie stars. However, his wife Phyllis did all the work. She was formally Phyllis Bounds, the niece of Lillian Bounds who married Walt Disney.
While watching the live-action, it looked as though that stuff had actually been shot on the Disney Studio lot. I’m not absolutely sure, but some of those locations sure looked familiar.
I’m sure you already know that the characters were designed by Tom Oreb. Oreb was one of Disney’s finest character artist and the old man let Tom do whatever he wanted with Mickey and all the other Disney characters. After all, this was for television.
The commercial unit was located in G-wing on the second floor of the Animation Building. I know because I was right down the hall from these guys. They often used all the good Disney animators such as, George Nicholas, Jerry Hathcock and Bob Carlson.
Finally, Walt Disney really liked George Romney, the head of American Motors. George Romney also had a bone-headed son named, Mitt. I wonder whatever happened to that guy?
’56 Ford Spots
A series of short spots made by Playhouse Pictures in 1955 to plug the 1956 models. Animation by the Playhouse regulars including Phil Duncan, Bill Melendez, and Bill Littlejohn. All the voices are performed by Daws Butler .
Made in 1956 by Playhouse Pictures. You Bet Your Life announcer George Fenneman is speaking. This is the only example I’ve found of Fenneman voicing a cartoon character and not just being the narrator.
Welcoming the Edsel into the Ford family of fine… flops? The Edsel proved that relying on consumer clinics to design products doesn’t always result in sales. Will man ever learn?
Now that we have succumbed to that siren’s song, we need to get insurance for our new Edsel. Animation by Michael Lah